Ophthalmology Business

DEC 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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skill required, the time to do the job yourself, or if your time and energy needs to be spent on higher value responsibilities. This position should be created to take away from you "lower value" tasks. It is outsourcing or, as Adam Smith proposed, a "division of labor" (one of three characteristics that describe how an economy functions). Once you have answered the strategic question of "why," there are other more tactical questions. Are you profitable (i.e., can you really afford it)? Here is how to calculate this: Take all of your compensation as owner/operator of the practice. Add in the other owner benefits that you deduct through the practice, such as meals, travel, car, and so on. Then subtract what you would pay someone else to replace your surgeon skills only, while you remain as president and chief executive of the "business or operational department." Then subtract what you would have to pay yet another person to fill that role of president and chief executive. Be sure to "gross up" these numbers to include employer taxes and benefits (usually an additional 20%). The remainder is true profit. (It would be highly unlikely and wonderful for you if your true profit ever exceeds 20%, and most would be happy with 15%). Are you looking to fill the right position? Many times you would be more profitable and happier if you had lower level positions filled to enable you to be more efficient and effective. Then you do not have to worry about the importance of prior experience, education, or skills as much. Often the most valuable skills are the intangible ones. • Personal skills • Appearance • Emotional intelligence • Cultural fit • Ability and willingness to add to the practice overall These factors are most critical to your success. Even if the needed position is another doctor, these intangibles are still most important. How many times have we seen "platinum trained" doctors who could not diagnose or operate with the same exceptional skill you possess? So look for the correct person to be in that correct position. Advertising for that person can be done in many forms. Word of mouth is easiest, yet not always the most successful. There are professional journals, social media sites, and "headhunters." These points should be in every advertisement: • A good headline to grab their attention • A description of the ideal candidate • A benefit for the intended recipient • A call to action • "Must haves" • "Should haves" • "Desirables" Compensation is important, of course, although it is definitely not the most important. It is where you may spend an unnecessary amount of time. Make the compensation fair, clear, and well defined by roles and goals for increases or bonuses. Most of all, the compensation must work for you. All too often we see too-generous doctors over compensate their staff. This often leads to resentment and ultimately failure at the position. Once you have identified the person to fill the role, his/her training and education along with providing frequent, specific, meaningful, uplifting, nurturing, and motiva- tional feedback (and often in public) is much more important than compensation. Any critiques should be in private, be specific, and without emotional overlay. Be certain to comply with all Department of Labor Regulations, as well as our Professional Code of Ethics, and your own personal code. Any violation will put you in jeopardy; it is easier to avoid them and not worth the consequences. Using these few principles as guidelines can help you attract and retain the right people, for the right positions, because you are assuming and fulfilling the leadership role too often lacking in a thriving ophthalmology practice. Leadership training often is overlooked or undervalued in med school, residency, and even fellowship. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful good leadership training can be. It can change the landscape of your business, increase your profitability, and make you happier doing it. I know you are busy seeing patients and staying in front of your continuing education, the new rules and regulations, techniques and technologies. You are "in the trenches." However, it is your practice, your passion, your livelihood, your license, your money, and your reputation. It is your responsibility to be a good steward of your resources, for which you paid dearly. The best practices have the best leaders— to change the results, change the process. Make great decisions. OB Dr. Levin is CEO and managing director, Summit Wealth Partners, Orlando, Fla. He can be contacted at MLevin@mysummitwealth.com. December 2013 • Ophthalmology Business 13

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